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Published on September 3, 2007

Author: Naples

Source: authorstream.com

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Slide1:  Bienvenue! 14th Annual Comparative Literature Symposium Crossing Borders: 21st Century Writers in the Americas Who is Roland Michel Tremblay? French-Canadian born in 1972 in Québec city now living in London UK since 1995 In the past few years I have been leading two professional lives in parallel. The first one is in the world of Conferences in Telecoms and IT where I have been writing and managing major European events. My second life has been and still is the one of an author and technical adviser writing novels, essays, poetry, television scripts and now big American films. Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of London (Birkbeck College) I have also studied for one year at la Sorbonne in Paris and I have finished a BA Language and Philosophy at the University of Ottawa in Canada. I also have a college diploma in Sciences from the College of Jonquière in Québec. Author of many books, 4 are published in French in Paris by iDLivre publisher The books are: Eclecticism (Philosophical Essay), Waiting for Paris (Novel), Denfert-Rochereau (Novel) and The Anarchist (Poetry). They are distributed in France, apparently they are the most popular of the publishing company and are also distributed in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Africa and Middle-East. Science Consultant/Technical Adviser/Writer for films and TV The television series Black Hole High that I worked on is now being broadcast on the NBC network all over America and on ITV all over the United Kingdom. What will this presentation cover? History of French-Canadian Literature Québec’s main authors Roland Michel Tremblay’s books Slide2:  New France in 1750 New France, which included Canada, was the French empire in North America. By 1750 fur traders had expanded it in the northwest, although wars with the British had reduced it in the east. Isle Royale was the remnant of French Acadia, most of which the British ruled as Nova Scotia. The French still maintained forts in the part west of the Bay of Fundy (cross-hatched area). Actual French settlement was largely limited to present-day Nova Scotia, Québec province, Illinois, and Louisiana; French influence extended farther through alliances with the indigenous nations for trade and defense. French Canadians are descendants of the habitants, the French-speaking peasants who stayed on in Québec after the French lost their North American territories to the British in the 1760s. In 1750 La Nouvelle-France (New France) was huge, it went down to New Orleans in the South. As you can see the Spanish controlled the Far West. Of course most of these territories were uninhabited in those days but you could find many French colonies. Even today there are still many French speaking persons in la Nouvelle-Orléans, mainly due to the Acadians deportation by the British between 1755 and 1762. Slide3:  Québec Today This is Québec today. Even though we lost a lot of territories to the United States and that the frontiers of the provinces were drawn to maximize assimilation by leaving out at least 1 million French speaking people in the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, we can still put four times France in the territory of Québec. Today’s French speaking population of the whole Canada is about 8 million (one quarter of Canada), almost the population of Belgium (10 million). And most of them don’t speak English, don’t read in English and don’t watch English television. This is one of the main reasons why we have so many publishers, television stations, authors, books, arts in French, because even what is French from France does not reach us as much as what is American but translated into French. Slide4:  History of Québec’s Literature The distinctive complexion of French Canadian literature is due in large part to the national spirit of the French-speaking, predominantly Roman Catholic habitants and to tensions inherent in their social, political, and geographic situation. This situation is characterized by isolation and a feeling of being threatened by the larger, primarily Protestant and English-speaking culture in North America. French Canadian literature, properly speaking, began with the introduction of a printing press and the founding of a weekly bilingual newspaper, the Québec Gazette, in 1764. However, the sense of a specific literature different from that of France did not take hold until the 1840s. From then on, for well over a century, literature was an important tool in French Canada’s ongoing struggle for cultural survival, and its themes of language, culture, religion, and politics reflected the evolving nature of that struggle. By the end of the 20th century, literature in Québec had become multiethnic, cosmopolitan, and confident of its identity. On a historical level, Québec’s literature was born from the 'reports of the Jesuits' sent in Nouvelle-France by the French. Then this literature of ethnologists (which described the places, people, manners, the climate in very Christian terms) little by little left the place to tales (transcription of oral stories) and to the account of combat (against English and the 'savages'). As of this time, Québec’s literature was a literature of assertion and resistance, which it remained until the Seventies. The quiet revolution changed this as from the seventies Quebeckers had the impression to have won. They were not threatened any more and their literature lost its claiming aspects to become more ludic, light, even commercial. It also lost much of its rigor because of the revalorization of the popular language (joual). For the past twenty years the great challenge of Québec’s literature has been to account for the great stakes of our time (political, immigration, society, etc.) which has not happened yet. Slide5:  Catholic, censorship, Quiet Revolution (Révolution Tranquille) The Catholic religion has played a big role in literature in Québec and before 1960 Québec was one of the most censored place in the world because directly under the powers of the clergy. No wonder the quiet revolution happened and that suddenly Québec’s literature became one of the most liberated in the world, celebrating the gay culture, transvestites and other subjects that were never mentioned before. Politics Politics played a major role in Quebec’s literature. It was not the best literature that was inspired from the social and political situation, but it is the literature that survived through the years because it was telling the history. One of the worst books I read from a French-Canadian author was 'Le Libraire' from Gérard Bessette and it only survived time because it was describing the socio-political situation in Canada and the censorship exerted by the priests. The lesson here is that if you wish to be remembered as an author, you should talk about the history of your country, politics, and the social life of the time. It is now very hard in Québec to find a book that does not deal with this search for a distinctive identity different from the rest of the planet and the political situation about an eventual separation of Québec from the rest of Canada. An Identity It is much more desirable for a French-Canadian author to be published in France, it is like consecration, like a British writer would love to be published in America. It is also very difficult if not impossible. This said Québec has nothing to envy to France. There are many publishers in Québec publishing in French and so many authors even though there are not many readers, that there is no question about it: there is a French-Canadian culture and 'la Littérature Québécoise' exists. Sometimes France can even be ignored, what is important is to say to the English Canadians: 'We are here, we have a culture!'. So much so that English Canadians started in recent years to wonder if they had an identity to differentiate themselves from Americans. Slide6:  Québec and France It is more common today to have French-Canadians published in France but it is still a slow and uneasy process. Only the best authors succeed. Since France and Quebec undertook real cultural exchanges in the Forties and after the 2nd World War, almost all of the principal Québec’s authors were published in France: Gabrielle Roy, Claire Martin, Bertrand Vac, Jacques Godbout, Anne Hébert, etc. Then little by little Quebec began to build its own publishing structures (non-existent before the 2nd World War) and from that point it was no longer necessary to go and get published in Paris. This practice thus disappeared with time and Quebec’s authors and French’s publishers lost sight of each other. Today if an author makes it big they simply get published in France by a publisher that has an agreement with a Québec’s publisher. These authors are often translated in many languages, often up to 26. Verbal communication - French-Canadian compared with French from France The difference between the French that we talk in Québec with the French talked in France today is as big as the difference between the American English and the British English. The only difference is that in Québec we have kept the Napoleonian French while in France the standards have changed progressively over the years. Québec’s French, including many expressions and folks’ songs, is very similar to the French we can find in Belgium, Catalan (Spain), Switzerland and other previous French colonies. Sometimes in Spain you hear people speaking Catalan and sometimes even Spanish, and you could think they speak French-Canadian, until the background noise cease and then you know they are speaking Catalan or Spanish. Written texts and literature - French-Canadian compared with French from France The written French in Québec is very similar to the written French in France, exactly like the written English in the US is comparable to the written English in Britain. Only some expressions are different and sometimes some words are written differently. Instead of growing apart, the level of French in Québec is getting better and closer to the French of France. There is a desire to bridge the differences and to get the standards up. Slide7:  Québec’s Literature • Links on the Internet in French L’Île: www.litterature.org andamp; www.litterature.org/auteur.asp Littérature québécoise: http://felix.cyberscol.qc.ca/LQ/ La Bibliothèque électronique du Québec, free e-books of authors from Québec and France now in the public domain: http://jydupuis.apinc.org Links on the Internet in English National Library of Canada: www.nlc-bnc.ca US Internet Movie Database: http://us.imdb.com Online bookstores: www.amazon.com andamp; www.archambault.ca A good book in French La Littérature Québécoise by Laurent Mailhot, Typo Publisher (Montréal), Essais A good resource in English Encarta Encyclopedia 2003 on CD-ROM or DVD Slide8:  Anne Hébert (Poetry and Novels) (Sainte-Catherine-de-Fossambault, Québec, 1916-2000) French-Canadian poet and novelist, much of whose work describes the conflict between the outer, modern world and the inner life of the creative artist. Born in Saint-Catherine-de-Fossambault, Québec, Hébert grew up in the city of Québec. She moved to Paris in the mid-1950s. In her books Hébert explores the sense of alienation and isolation felt by artists, but she also stresses the need to work in the everyday world as a way to spiritual redemption. She is known for her precise descriptions of the physical world. Many of Hébert's works explore the theme of awareness after revolt against violent oppression. Her first novel, Les chambres de bois (1958; The Silent Rooms,1974), is the story of a young woman who returns to a more natural and simple life after being imprisoned by her husband. Hébert's later novels—such as Kamouraska (1970; translated 1973); Les enfants du sabbat (1975; Children of the Black Sabbath,1977); and Les fous de Bassan (1982; In the Shadow of the Wind,1983)—are stories of demonic possession and murder. Hébert's other works include the novels Le premier jardin (1988) and L'enfant chargé de songes (The child full of dreams, 1992); the poetry volumes Les songes en équilibre (Dreams in Equilibrium, 1942) and Le jour n'a d‘égal que la nuit (Day Has No Equal but Night, 1994); and the short-story collection Le torrent (1950). The violent eroticism of Hébert’s early work gave way to an increasing serenity and even nostalgia for the society from which she had voluntarily exiled herself in the 1950s. Anne Hébert shows that after more than three decades she can still evoke the mysteries of human existence. Anne Hébert's highly regarded Les Fous de Bassan is a symbolic and mysterious story set in the village of Griffin Creek in 1936. In Le premier jardin, Anne Hébert tells the story of actress Flora Fontanges, who returns from France to her hometown of Quebec City in the 1970s to perform in a play. The invitation to return comes at a time of personal anguish, for her daughter has just died. Like Atwood's Elaine Risley, Flora Fontanges explores her hometown, recapturing with stunning accuracy the passionate history of the city and her own personal history. As a result of Quebec's Catholic heritage, its writers often see human conflicts in terms of damnation and salvation. Anne Hébert's important novel, Les enfants du sabbat, set in a Quebec convent in the mid-1940's, is a visionary tale of a young girl's damnation. Anne Hébert's Héloise is the story of a married man in Paris, whose encounter with a woman leads him into a life of fantasy. Anne Hébert Center (French): www.usherbrooke.ca/flsh/centannheb/index.html Slide9:  Michel Tremblay (Theater and Novels) (Montréal, 1942 - ) The novels and plays of Michel Tremblay, set in Montréal’s working-class neighborhoods and dealing with such themes as the politics of language, homosexuality, transvestites, prostitution, drug dealers and incest, explored the transformation of Québec society in the 60s and 70s. His plays were innovative in language and subject matter. They also experimented with staging and characters, often splitting the stage into different times or places or creating more than one version of a character. Tremblay, who by the 1980s had published some 50 volumes, also produced several new plays, including Albertine en cinq temps (1984; Albertine in Five Times, 1986), using a cast of characters familiar from his earlier works. His most important works of the 1980s and 1990s were novels, including two additions to the multivolume Chroniques du plateau Mont-Royal: Des nouvelles d’Edouard (News of Edward, 1984) and Le premier quartier de la lune (1989; The First Quarter of the Moon, 1994). Tremblay’s Le coeur découvert (1986; The Heart Laid Bare, 1989) is a moving account of homosexual love. The explicitly autobiographical Un ange cornu avec des ailes de tôle (A Horned Angel with Tin Wings, 1994) traces Tremblay’s evolution from childhood to young adulthood through the books that were important to him. The nostalgic trilogy evoking his childhood in working-class east-end Montréal in the 1940s consists of La grosse femme d'à côté est enceinte (1978; The Fat Woman Next Door Is Pregnant, 1981), Thérèse et Pierrette à l'école des saints-Anges (1980; Therese and Pierrette and the Little Hanging Angels, 1984), and La duchesse et le roturier (The Duchess and the Commoner, 1982). Another expression of French Canadian self-confidence was an ongoing debate over whether writers should work in traditional French or in French as it was spoken in Canada. This issue took on epic proportions in a controversy over a play by Michel Tremblay, Les belles-soeurs (1968; translated 1974), which many critics found shocking in its use of colloquial language that was considered both ugly and crude. The play shows 15 working-class women from three generations laughing and quarreling after one of them wins a million trading stamps and asks the group to help her paste them into booklets. Tremblay brought the nature of the language controversy into sharp focus and delighted audiences by recreating the anglicized, impoverished, yet forceful language of the Montréal working class. In so doing, he helped bring French Canadian drama to the attention of the world. Tremblay's Le Vrai Monde?, for Le Theatre Français, looked at how a writer uses his life in his work. In Douze coups de théâtre (Twelve theater pieces) Quebec's foremost playwright, Michel Tremblay, offers souvenirs of his discovery of the theater and the text of his first prizewinning play. Michel Tremblay presents in C't'à ton tour Laura Cadieux a gathering of women, playing cards in the waiting room of a gynecologist. And from Québec came Michel Tremblay's Hosanna, about a homosexual relationship between a motorcyclist and a hairdresser. Michel Tremblay's Bonjour la Bonjour, is about an incestuous family. Focused more narrowly on Montreal, indeed centered on the now mythic Rue Fabre, is Michel Tremblay's Le premier quartier de la lune, the fifth and final volume of his Chroniques de MontRoyal. The action takes place on June 20, 1952; it is the last day of school, the moment when summer seems to offer hope in the difficult world of nine-year-old Marcel and young people like him. Alienated from the world around him by worsening epilepsy, Marcel creates a dream world in his solitary life with his cat, Duplessis. Main website: http://membres.lycos.fr/karmina/index.html Slide10:  Réjean Ducharme (Novels) (Saint-Félix-de-Valois, Québec, 1941 - ) Novelist and playwright Réjean Ducharme spent seven months in the Canadian Air Force in 1962, then worked as a salesman, office clerk and cab driver before travelling across Canada, the United States and Mexico for three years. Ten of his works have been published by Gallimard which is an accomplishment, given the prestige of this French publishing company. His first novel, L’Avalée des avalées (1966), won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1967. His second novel, Le Nez qui voque (1967), was awarded the Prix littéraire de la province de Québec. These two, plus a third novel, L’Océantume (1968), were published during the years of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and made a significant impact. Ducharme wrote the plays, Le Cid maghané and Ines Pérée et Inat Tendu in 1968, and Ha ha! which won the Governor General’s Literary Award in 1982. He received the Prix Belgique-Canada in 1973 for L’Hiver de force and the Prix France-Canada in 1976 for Les Enfantômes. In addition, he wrote the lyrics of several songs for Robert Charlebois (1976). Ducharme also wrote the screenplay for two very successful films: Les Bons Débarras (1979) and Les Beaux Souvenirs (1981) produced by Francis Mankiewicz. After a 14-year silence, Ducharme surprised the world with two novels, Dévadé (1990) and Va savoir (1994). Réjean Ducharme is considered one of the most significant and original voices in Quebec literary history. He has also exhibited his sculptures and paintings created with found objects, under the pseudonym Roch Plante. Even those writers who avoided political themes expressed the tensions inherent in the Québecois situation. Réjean Ducharme’s novel L'avalée des avalés (1966; The Swallower Swallowed, 1968) portrays the anger of an adolescent girl who is half Jewish and half Catholic. The girl feels dominated by her mother and torn between her contradictory cultural and linguistic heritages. In L'Océantume, Réjean Ducharme returned to his fantasy world of children and explored their bizarre relationships. In French Canada the most intriguing poetry event was novelist Rejean Ducharme's poetry-novel La fille de Christophe Colomb, a surreal attempt in more than 1,000 quatrains of sophomoric doggerel to follow the heroine in her search for true friendship. Slide11:  Robert Lepage (Theater, Movies, Actor) (Québec, 1957 - ) Robert Lepage was born in Quebec City on December 12, 1957 and was admitted to the Conservatoire d'art dramatique de Québec in 1975. After graduating in 1978, he went on to Paris to complete his training at Alain Knapp's theatre school. He later returned to his hometown where he contributed to several creations as an actor, author, and director. Then in 1980, he joined the Théâtre Repère, a Quebec City theatre company where, within a few years, he was to make his name as one of the major creative forces of his country. Circulations, which was created in 1984 and presented throughout Canada, won the Best Canadian Production Award at the Quinzaine internationale de théâtre de Québec. It was in 1985, however, with The Dragon’s Trilogy, that his work was to be internationally recognized. In 1986, he created Vinci, his first solo performance, which notably won the Prix Coup de Pouce at the Festival Off d’Avignon, the Best Creation Award at the Festival de Nyon, and the Best Staging Award by the Association québécoise des critiques de théâtre. The following year, The Polygraph won the Time Out/01 Production Award in London, and the Chalmers Award in Toronto. Finally, in 1988, The Tectonic Plates confirmed his reputation on many stages throughout North America and Europe. Canadian cinema received a transfusion of fresh blood in 1995 with a large crop of films from writer-directors making their first features. The most keenly anticipated debut was by Quebec superstar stage director Robert Lepage, whose Le confessionnal (The confessional) opened the Directors' Fortnight program at the Cannes Film Festival. Ingenious, complex, and ambitious, Le confessionnal is psychological drama set against the backdrop of Alfred Hitchcock shooting his 1953 film noir I Confess in Quebec City. Lothaire Bluteau stars as an artist who helps his adopted brother unravel the mystery of his birth. Jockeying between two time frames, Lepage displays the visual sleight of hand that distinguishes his stage work. His controlled direction leaves a cold impression, but the brilliance of the film, which received 12 Genie nominations, is undeniable. He made many more movies since and won many awards. Internationally, Quebec director Robert Lepage, known for his dreamlike, highly visual collective theater, attained international renown this year with his production of a A Midsummer Night's Dream at the National Theatre in London. The entire play took place in a pit filled with mud and was instantly in demand in Japan and throughout Europe. Quebec's Robert Lepage continued to create some of the most innovative visual theater in the world, presenting Needles and Opium, a one-man show he wrote, directed, and performed, at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Among festivals, World Stage, a biennial Toronto event, scored record attendance with a program that included Needles and Opium, a one-man show about Jean Cocteau and Miles Davis written and performed by Quebec director Robert Lepage. In 1993, he once again expressed his interest for music when he staged Peter Gabriel's Secret World Tour, which was presented around the world. That same year, he was very much in demand by various theaters around the world. For example, he staged Macbeth and The Tempest in Japanese versions at the Tokyo Globe. The following year, Stockholm welcomed him for the set designing and staging of August Strindberg's A Dreamplay. Slide12:  Jacques Godbout (Novels, Films) (Montréal, 1933 - ) After completing an MA in French literature at the University of Montreal, Jacques Godbout taught for several years at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. On returning to Canada in 1957, he worked in advertising before joining the National Film Board as a writer in the French department. In 1961, he directed his first documentary short and he has been an NFB filmmaker ever since. In all, he has directed some 30 films, including four dramatic features. Godbout is an equally prolific author, having published numerous essays, novels and poetry collections, written radio dramas for Radio-Canada and France's national network, and contributed to a number of periodicals, including Parti pris, Les Lettres françaises, Maclean's, Les Nouvelles littéraires and L'Actualité, and newspapers such as Le Jour and Le Devoir. Godbout’s witty and urbane novels Une histoire américaine (1986; An American Story, 1988) and Le temps des Galarneau (1994; The Golden Galarneaus, 1995) document the shift in attitudes and trends regarding language, politics, and consumer society. Novelist Jacques Godbout was convinced that French Canadians were first of all a North American species, subject to all the pressures of American society. He concocted a lively and amusing version of Québecois French to explain the dilemmas created by these pressures in Salut Galarneau! (1967; Hail Galarneau!, 1970). In Jacques Godbout's Une histoire américaine, the protagonist, a communications expert named Gregory Francoeur, accepts an invitation to deliver a series of talks at Berkeley on the subject of Quebec within Canada. An incurable dreamer, Francoeur presents a journal within the novel, and his California is far from paradise. One of the most arresting of the late 1981 novels was Jacques Godbout's allegory of Quebec political life, Les Têtes à Papineau. It tells of a man with two heads, one speaking English and the other French, and of the operation to separate them. Godbout was awarded the Prix Duvernay by the St Jean Baptiste Sociey for the body of his literary work in 1972, the Prix Belgique-Canada in 1978 and the Prix du Québec (Athanase-David) in 1985. He also received an honorary EUROFIPA award at the 7th International Audiovisual Program Festival in Cannes in 1994. Slide13:  Gabrielle Roy (Novels) (Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, 1909-1983) Gabrielle Roy was a Canadian novelist, a short-story writer and a journalist. Her first novel, Bonheur d’occasion (1945; The Tin Flute, 1947), broke new ground in its depiction of urban life in French-speaking Canada. Roy was renowned for her poetic style as well as her compassion for her characters, who range from the humble urban working class to the Ukrainian immigrants who settled the prairies of western Canada. Roy’s first novel, Bonheur d’occasion, is considered a masterpiece of social realism. Unlike most preceding Québec novels, which depicted rural settings and simple country folk, Bonheur d’occasion innovatively portrayed the urban environment of Montréal and its working-class neighborhood, Saint-Henri, during World War II (1939-1945). The novel features concerns that preoccupied Roy throughout her career, such as the misery of the homeless, the poverty of the working class, and the inequity of women’s social position. As her other works do, the novel conceives of life as a voyage of discovery and self-realization. Bonheur d’occasion became the first Canadian novel to win the Prix Fémina, a major French literary award. Roy’s other major urban novel is Alexandre Chenevert (1954; The Cashier, 1955). It features a common man’s struggle with life in modern society, alienated in a large city and surrounded by seemingly constant news reports of disaster and plight. Most of Roy’s other major works are based on her experiences growing up and working as a teacher on the Manitoba prairies. These books include the story collections La petite poule d’eau (1950; Where Nests the Water Hen, 1951), Rue Deschambault (1955; Street of Riches, 1957), La route d’Altamont (1966; The Road past Altamont, 1966), and Ces enfants de ma vie (1977; Children of My Heart, 1979). Two other works, the novel La montagne secrete (1961; The Hidden Mountain, 1962) and the story collection La rivière sans repos (1970; Windflower, 1970), are set in the Canadian Arctic. Her autobiography, La détresse et l’enchantement (1984; Enchantment and Sorrow, 1987), was published after her death. Roy received three Governor General’s Literary Awards, for the English translations of Bonheur d’occasion and Rue Deschambault and for Ces enfants de ma vie. Gabrielle Roy undertakes psychological drama of a different kind in Un jardin au bout du monde, which explores the consciousness of a Quebec woman as well as of generations of immigrants to Quebec. La route d'Altamont (The Road Past Altamont) displayed a nostalgic sadness in four loosely connected sketches dealing with growing up and growing old. Street of Riches, a quietly moving study, partly autobiographical, of the awakening sensibilities of a French-Canadian girl growing up in the suburbs of Winnipeg. Significantly, all the novels written in French during the year 1955 deal with the problems of guilt or sin faced by the French-Canadian who strives for individual freedom. Gabrielle Roy's Alexandre Chenevert is a tender and sensitive analysis of the attempts of a fear-ridden little clerk to escape from the meaningless repetitions of urban drudgery and from the inhumanities of a narrow religion. This is accomplished through humility, a tender pity for the sufferings of humanity, and a love for the beauties of nature. Roy heralded a new phase in French Canadian life and its reflection in literature. Henceforth, with the rapidly expanding city of Montréal as the nucleus for a new literary culture, French Canadian writers would be preoccupied with the problems of urbanization. Slide14:  Marie-Claire Blais (Novels) (Québec, October 1939 - ) Marie-Claire Blais published her first novel, La Belle Bête, at the age of 20. It is not as much about her native Québec Province as about a family inhabiting a somber landscape shut off from other people and from love. After winning a bursary from the Gugenheim Foundation in the United States, Marie-Claire Blais wrote Une Saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel in 1965, which was widely circulated at an astonishing speed. Like her other works, it is a bleak story of people locked in their own degraded, poverty-stricken worlds. An author of plays and poetry, Blais used dramatic and poetic techniques in the novella Le jour est noir (1962; The Day Is Dark,1967). A more specifically French-Canadian setting, however, forms the background of St. Lawrence Blues (1973; trans. 1974). More than 20 novels, five plays, and collections of poetry which appeared at that time in France and in Quebec have been translated into English. Just to name a few at random, there are: Tête blanche (1980); L'Insoumise (1966); David Sterne (1967); Vivre! Vivre! (1969); Pierre (1986); L'Ange de la solitude (1989); and Un Jardin dans la tempête (1990). Her most recent novel, Soifs, appeared in 1995. Marie-Claire Blais was the recipient of many awards, such as the Prix de la langue française for La Belle Bête (1961), the Prix France-Québec and the Governor General's Award for Les Manuscrits de Pauline Archange (1969) and Le Sourd dans la ville (1979), the Prix Belgique-Canada in 1976, and the Prix Athanase-David in 1982 for all her works, and the Prix de l'Académie française for Visions d'Anna (1983). In 1993, she was elected member of the Académie royale de langue et de littérature françaises de Belgique. In Quebec fiction, Marie-Claire Blais published the third volume in her sequence about the childhood and adolescence of Pauline Archange. Les apparences is marked by the same sensitivity that is evident in the earlier volumes, and there is a refreshing absence of Mlle Blais' customary Gothic horror. Marie-Claire Blais' David Sterne was a Dostoevskian examination of three young men who commit suicide. Marie-Claire Blais, in works such as Une saison dans la vie d'Emmanuel (1965; A Season in the Life of Emmanuel, 1966), showed the emptiness and hypocrisy of the traditional values that had previously allowed French Canadians to maintain their separateness; she particularly portrays the way these values often victimized women and children. Slide15:  Antonine Maillet (Novels) (Bouctouche, New-Brunswick, 1929 - ) Novelist and playwright Antonine Maillet attended school in Bouctouche, Memramcook, Moncton, Montreal and Quebec City. Since her first novel in 1958, Maillet has had 30 or so works published. In the course of her career, she has won many literary awards, including the Prix Champlain for Pointe-aux-Coques (1958), the Governor General's award for Don l'Orignal (1972), le Grand Prix de la Ville de Montréal for Mariaagélas (1973), and the much coveted Prix Goncourt for Pélagie-la-Charrette (1979). From the start of her career, Antonine Maillet has drawn on Acadian history, language, folklore, traditions and geographical features -- in short, the uniqueness of her native region provides material and inspiration for her writing. Several of her works are peopled by vividly portrayed characters who share the same surroundings: an imaginary place reminiscent of Bouctouche, where she was born. Her fervent attachment to Acadia and its people has contributed greatly to the development of a thriving culture in the last few decades. However, as she pointed out recently at the Acadian World Congress, her people still have a long way to go: 'Acadia needs to say what it is: that it is part of Canada, that it is part of America, that it is part of the international fraternity of Francophone nations, and that it therefore has its own place in the world -- a place that is unique, just as each of the world's peoples is unique.' '...the French folks is the folks fr'm France, les Français de France. 'n fer that matter, we're even less Français de France than we're Americans. We're more like French Canadians, they told us. Well, that ain't true either. French Canadians are those that live in Québec. They call'em Canayens or Québécois. But how can we be Québécois if we ain't livin in Québec? Fer the love of Christ, where do we live? ...In Acadie, we was told, 'n we're supposed to be Acadjens. So, that's the way we decided to answer the question 'bout nationality: Acadjens we says to them. Now then, we can be sure of one thing, we're the only ones to have that name.' Antonine Maillet's Mariaagelas recalls smuggling in the region of Acadia during Prohibition. Evangeline deusse (1975; Evangeline the Second, 1987) explore Acadian folklore and history. Maillet is best known for her dramatic monologue La sagouine (1971; translated 1979) and a series of novels and plays based on Acadian life and history, including Pélagie-la-Charrette (1979; Pélagie: The Return to a Homeland, 1982). Pélagie-la-Charrette was the first work written outside of France to win the Prix Goncourt, France's prestigious literary award. The novel is about the Acadians' return from exile in Louisiana. Notable books for children included Antonine Maillet's delightful Christophe Cartier de la Noisette dit Nounours. Slide16:  Émile Nelligan (Poetry) (Montréal, 1879 - 1941) Émile Nelligan, an outstanding turn-of-the-century writer, is French-Canada’s most beloved and admired poet. A romantic figure whose literary career was tragically short-lived, Nelligan ushered French-Canadian poetry into the modern age. Nelligan was born in Montreal on Christmas Eve, 1879. His parents, who had a troubled marriage, embodied the two solitudes of Canada. His father, David Nelligan, was an Irish immigrant with little appreciation for French-Canadian language or culture. His work as a postal inspector necessitated frequent absences from home. Nelligan’s mother, Émilie-Amanda Hudon Nelligan was a French Canadian who was musically talented, proud of her culture and heritage and a devout Catholic. In 1897, against his parents’ wishes, he abandoned his studies to pursue his poetry. He was actively writing verses and could envision no other profession for himself. In 1896, he met his mentor and future editor, the priest Eugène Seers (later called Louis Dantin) and Joseph Melançon, who introduced Nelligan to the literary circles of Montreal. Under the pseudonym Émile Kovar, he published his first poem 'Rêve fantasque' in Le Samedi (June 13, 1896). By September of that year, eight more of his poems had appeared in local papers and journals such as Le Monde Illustré and Alliance nationale. Nelligan’s poems showed a remarkable sensitivity to the power of words and the music of language and were tinged with melancholy and nostalgia. By 1897, poems appeared for the first time in Le Monde Illustré and La Patrie under his real name, which was sometimes modified to 'Nellighan' or 'Nelighan'. In 1899, at the age of 19, he was confined to a mental asylum, where he lived until his death in 1941. During his years of confinement, Nelligan continued to write, but he had lost the capacity to create a body of work and spent his time rewriting his earlier poems from memory. Émile Nelligan’s body of work comprises some 170 poems, sonnets, rondels, songs and prose poems. Astonishingly, these were all written when he was between the ages of 16 and 19. Nelligan had published only 23 poems before his incarceration, but in 1904, thanks to the diligence of his friend Louis Dantin and with his mother’s help, 107 poems were published in Émile Nelligan et son oeuvre with a preface by Dantin. Émile Nelligan was a pioneer of French-Canadian literature. In his poetry, he threw off the time-worn subjects of patriotism and fidelity to the land that had so occupied his literary predecessors, and explored the symbolic possibilities of language and his own, dark, inner landscape. Although his writing was influenced by symbolist poets such as Charles-Pierre Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud and English-language writers such as Lord Byron and Edgar Allan Poe, Nelligan created a poetic sensibility that was uniquely his own. In so doing, he struck a chord of recognition with French Canada that remains to this day, for his work continues to be celebrated. His poems have been translated into English, and he is the subject of numerous colloquia, films, novels, poems, and a ballet and an opera. A hundred years after he created his last poem, the poetic vision of Émile Nelligan endures. Unlike other French Canadian writers of the 19th century, Nelligan makes no references to history or politics. However, critics have interpreted the dreams and frustrations he expresses as symbolic of the mood of the French Canadian people at the end of the century: stifled by the control and political domination of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of his poems can be found here: http://poesie.webnet.fr/auteurs/nelligan.html Slide17:  Hubert Aquin (Essays, Novels) (Montréal, 1929 -1977) Hubert Aquin was, briefly, Quebec's great warrior-intellectual. His life was short and intense: between the late '50s and his suicide in 1977 he wore the hats of novelist, essayist, terrorist agitator, politician, prisoner, film producer, literary editor, and stockbroker. After receiving his degree in philosophy from the University of Montreal, he spent three years at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, then returned to the University of Montreal, where he studied for one year at the Institute of History. Aquin worked as a radio and television producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Public Affairs division in Montreal and won many awards for his work as a director with the National Film Board. Next Episode, Aquin's first novel, is a brilliant offshoot of its author's early political career. Written while Aquin was being held at a Montreal psychiatric hospital, pending trial for the possession of a stolen automobile and an automatic firearm, Next Episode is narrated by a young revolutionary, an Aquin double who's also imprisoned in a psychiatric institution. In an attempt to while away the hours, the narrator begins writing a kind of political thriller concerning a Québécois terrorist who, while abroad in Switzerland, unexpectedly rediscovers his long-lost lover, K., a sort of eternal-feminine figure and personification of the nation of Quebec. K. instructs the narrator to murder one H. de Heutz, a spy-banker-historian-aristocrat who has apparently been sending information about radical Québécois bank accounts to the RCMP. The convoluted chase that ensues is a Kafkaesque exercise in futility, in which the twinned agents pursue one another through a symbol-strewn landscape of cultural memory. Two factors are likely to keep Next Episode from ever gaining a wide readership in English Canada. Aquin's French is too rich and lyrical to translate well; the ever-capable Sheila Fischman has produced a workable version of the text, but the florid, romantic prose of Next Episode will always sound forced in English. Furthermore, this is a book of great political and cultural specificity. Readers who have never lived in Quebec or are unfamiliar with its history will likely find the most crucial elements of the novel incomprehensible. Many readers will be able to enjoy the novel's acute deconstruction of the political thriller, but Next Episode's true fire lies in its nationalist fervour. In Trou de mémoire, Hubert Aquin used the same amalgam of crime, metaphysics, sex, and politics as in his first novel, with the same dazzling results. Hubert Aquin, in Neige noire, illuminates the political context of psychological obsessions. Slide18:  Louis Hémon (Novels) (Brest, France, 1880 - Chapleau, Ontario, 1913) LOUIS HEMON (1880-1913) was born in Brest in France and began his writing career there, but emigrated first to London, and then to Quebec, the land with which his name is now indelibly linked (literally, in fact, as maps of the province show lakes bearing both his name and that of the heroine of his single masterpiece). After studying for a diplomatic career, he went to Canada in 1911 and worked as a farm laborer near Lac Saint-Jean, Québec, while gathering material for his major work, Maria Chapdelaine (1914; trans. 1921). He lived less than two years in rural Quebec, long enough to write Maria Chapdelaine, but not long enough to see its publication. He and a companion were killed by a train while walking along tracks in a remote part of Ontario. The novel saw publication first in Paris, as a serial in Le Temps. It attracted no particular notice at first, but in 1921 an influential French literary critic revived it as the initial number of a popular series of books, and it became a best-seller both in France and in Quebec. A 1921 English translation, by W. H. Blake, appeared almost simultaneously, and likewise achieved popular success. Three of Hémon's earlier novels and a travel journal were published posthumously. In fiction, the novel of the land reached the level of great art with the appearance of Louis Hémon’s novel Maria Chapdelaine (1914; translated 1921). An evocation of the harsh but exalting life of French Canadian settlers and of their struggle to keep their culture alive in a hostile Anglo-Saxon environment, the novel became a model for French Canadian writers. In French fiction, the regional classicism of Louis Hémon's Maria Chapdelaine had given way to sociological and psychological studies of the clash between parochial traditionalism and various forms of liberalism and progress. You can read it in English here: http://www.litrix.com/mchap/mchap001.htm Slide19:  Denys Arcand (Screenwriter, Movies) (Deschambault, Québec, 1941 -) (Brother of Gabriel Arcand, Famous Québec actor) Denys Arcand was born on June 25, 1941 in Deschambault, a village about twenty-five miles southwest of Quebec City. He is known for his witty, irreverent films against the pervasive influences of the Roman Catholic clergy and the English Canadian establishment. Arcand made his first films in the 1960s during the Quiet Revolution, a period of renewed French Canadian nationalism and cultural identity. For many years Arcand directed films with strong political messages and struggled to find a broad audience. He came to international attention in the 1980s after some of his feature films won important awards at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The French Canadian film director Denys Arcand had been making movies for twenty-five years when, in 1986, he became an 'overnight sensation' with his witty satire on sex and society called The Decline of the American Empire (Le Déclin de l’Empire Américain). The critical and commercial success of that film thrust Arcand into the international spotlight and infused new life into his flagging career. Despite the academic pomposity of its title, the film is a witty comedy of manners about eight faculty members—four male and four female—who gather for a dinner party and discuss sex, history, and the relationship between men and women. Coincidentally, one of the female characters has written a book theorizing that, as civilizations approach collapse, people become more concerned about their own gratification than about their social responsibilities. All but one of the characters in the film seem intent on proving that theory correct. Because Arcand had been careful to avoid references to Quebec or Canada, Le declin de l'empire Americain found a much broader audience than anything he had done before. Made for a modest $1.8 million, Le declin grossed more than $30 million, won several major international awards, and took nine Genies, the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars. But even more gratifying for Arcand was the announcement in early 1987 that the film had been nominated for an Oscar in the best-foreign-language-film category, marking the first time that a Canadian feature film had been honored in that way. Resisting the obvious temptation to make 'Decline II,' he began work on a totally different kind of film called Jesus of Montreal. The story involves a young actor named Daniel who is hired by the priest of a Montreal church to revitalize its annual passion play. The revised drama, which suggests that Jesus was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier, is a popular success, but church officials find it offensive and want it stopped. When Daniel, whose actions in many ways begin to parallel those of Jesus, resists, conflict results. Jesus de Montreal made its debut at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, where it captured the Special Jury Prize and created a sensation. The film went on to win twelve Genie awards, including those for best picture, best director, and best original screenplay, and an Academy Award nomination as the year's best foreign film. To Arcand's astonishment, the film also won the Ecumenical Prize from the Organisation Catholique Internationale du Cinema et de l'Audiovisuel. The success of Jesus de Montreal fortified Arcand's position as an international talent as gifted in directing commercial films as he had been with documentaries. It also led some observers to conclude that filmmaking in Quebec had at last come of age. As some critic noted, 'Arcand's career mirrors Quebec's cultural evolution over the past two decades. His focus has shifted from the national to the personal, from political issues of oppression to sexual traumas of affluence. He appears to relish the paradox of his position.' Slide20:  Roland Michel Tremblay French Canadian author published in Paris I have to say that Québec is not known for having produced many intellectual authors and that might explain why its literature stays very local. Philosophy is virtually non-existent and metaphysic is lost on the readers. I am that sort of author who loves metaphysic and complicated books, that do not give all the answers to the reader and ask from the readers a certain investment. My first books were so difficult to understand that it was hard for me to find anyone around willing to read them. 'The Revolution' is still a mystery to most and my guess is that if it were to be studied in a University, it would become a very interesting book as there are a lot of different interpretations at many levels and is not necessarily taking a point of view. Even referents are not present, the reader never really know what is talked about in the book. For this reason it has been very difficult for me to find a publisher in Québec, they simply did not have the market for this sort of books. Only a French publisher could publish me, and even 'The Revolution' did not find a publisher in France. I was lucky the 'Eclecticism' was published but I have to say that it is my least popular book, even though I feel it is my best work. In time I started to write simpler books like 'Denfert-Rochereau' and 'The Anarchist'. The scandalous value of 'The Anarchist' was enough to get me published and it is the book that opened me the doors of my publisher in Paris. It has also been the most popular book that my publisher printed. 'Waiting for Paris' has only one level of comprehension as it is my diary turned into a novel (as many authors do without admitting it). I have to say that the uncut original version that contains 650 more pages than the published version is the most popular page on my website. The diary is more interesting than the novel. Now let’s talk about these books individually. Slide21:  Early work – Short Stories Since I was 10 years old I have been writing books, science reports and articles. Over the years I have written 16 books that I feel could be published. In order to present this huge amount of work - accomplished in parallel to work and studies - I have built from scratch four very popular websites. You will notice that the French websites are much more developed than the English ones. Note: despite the title I am not an Anarchist nor I have any link with any anarchist organization. This is about writing a different literature. The Crowned Anarchist is a book about a Roman king from the late French writer Antonin Artaud. Vortex Vortex was my first book ever written when I was 14-15 years old. It was science fiction, a book that you are the hero and need to follow the numbers of the paragraphs and choose the story you prefer as a reader. At one point you went into a vortex or wormhole and found yourself on the other side of the galaxy. Funny enough, today I have been working on that very topic a lot for TV and Films. The book is now lost. La Chanson de Roland Michel (The Song of Roland Michel) My literary adventure started with a pastiche of the Song of Roland, the first ever French book known to exist with a medieval flavor, and was called the Song of Roland Michel. This first book was about my own existential crisis (recurring topic in all my work) and the construction of a phantasmagoric and marvelous universe characteristic of the problems connected to childhood. I thought I lost every copies of this book but I recently found one remaining copy in Ottawa. Verts et Vers les Champs (Green and Towards the Fields) The Voice of the Truth is composed of three parts. The first, Through The Green Fields, is characterized by short stories concerning truth and liberty. It was inspired by the style of Tristan and Iseut, the modern translation by Joseph Bédier. The second part is named Letters of R.M. and discusses the difficulty in accepting learned values. Finally, the third part, The Voice of the Truth, is the Four Pillars that symbolize the voice of the authority, a truth that listeners will hear, interpret, then will forget. Nevertheless, this divided truth will become the essence of all society. General comments: I was very close to my first books. They meant the world to me, they were my own new universe I created for myself. I kept reading them over and over again and could recite them by heart. I thought they were the best things ever written and I was also convinced that they were going to be published within a month of being finished. Of course, they are still unpublished. I was 17 years old and would have certainly committed suicide if I had known at the time that they would never be published and that I would never become a respected author. Slide22:  Theater Antoine/Antonia Through its poetry and its musical parts, this play exists in two versions: Antoine and Antonia. The first version redefines the traditional family in a religious way in an incarnate drama by a cast that seems dead in appearance while they ask only to live. This represents the way some marginal people live. Antonia is a rather light and comic adaptation of Antoine. The play is very atmospheric and uses lightning, music resembling the CD Songs of Faith and Devotion of Depeche Mode and also a film of the ghost village of Val-Jalbert in the background showing mysterious images of death and desperation. La Légende de Val-Jalbert (The Legend of Val-Jalbert) My plays are inspired by an abandoned village around St. John's Lake in Quebec. The Legend of Val-Jalbert is an historical reconstitution of a ghost village. A true haunted village legend is then posed, a young couple dies in a cavern and comes back to haunt the village. This legend actualizes the closing down of one factory of the past to the closing down of all the industries based in the region of Saguenay-St. John's Lake of today. The play was going to be done at the village and the cast were going to be the people working in the restaurant, on which the personalities of the characters were based on. Unfortunately the company running the restaurant lost its contract and the play was never made. Slide23:  The Philosophical Essays La Révolution (The Revolution) Essay The Revolution, by its poetical prose, shows the progress of René in his love and social success that will take him to a larger finality: the discovery of the end of the ocean. He abandons therefore his fellows to embark on the ocean to the discovery of his finality. He emits hypotheses on the Universe, but ignores even the circularity of the Earth. Nevertheless he will discover the end of the ocean by his own alienation. He is then capable of creating his own insular universe, to make the revolution, to become a God and establish his new humanity. The Revolution shows how, as humans, we try to develop a huge philosophy without being able to see what the Universe is really about. L’Éclectisme (Eclecticism) Essay The Eclecticism is a philosophical essay that follows no program or precise plan. One learns there to reconsider the universe in its entirety until the points of reference exist no more. It is an absolute questioning of everything, where time, space and thought interact to create a world of ideas more real than the daily life. With for creation our own imagination, each of us is the God of his/her own universe. We can control it as long as we learn to become more aware of it. The Eclecticism was born out of a saturation of everything. It was written in London and partly in Dublin. The London life is described, the life in the sales of whisky from Scotland to Ireland. The book is also about the madness of this world. The subject is that of a voyage in the universe and in one’s brain. An absolute assessment of all philosophies and currents of thoughts which the planet carried since the last millennia. An assessment to celebrate the new philosophy of the next millennium: The Eclecticism. The Eclecticism is the death of ideas, concepts, philosophies, science, religions, policies, the death of all and nothing. Slide24:  Denfert-Rochereau (Novel) Denfert-Rochereau is a novel that tells the story of a Paris in destruction by the war in parallel of the end of three villages of the Saguenay-St. John Lake in Québec. A young man enclosed in the catacombs of Paris attempt to reach the plenitude by the discovery of God. While he knows that he is going to die soon, he lives nevertheless a rebirth that coincides with the birth of some villages very far from him. But some people will make him believe that above Paris is on fire, thus its visions will relate to the destruction of villages of Val-Jalbert (desertion), St. Jean Vianney (unstable land) and St. Cyriac (flood). It is through the history of his ancestors that the young man will understand the multiple segregations that form in collectivities, small secret societies of knowledge that no one can easily penetrate. Like for example universities, professional associations, religious movements, philosophy, politics, justice and even cooking. The novel shows that the initiation is never happening without losing some liberties and a loss of identity. It is a Novel of initiation, at the limit of the esoteric plane that describes the universe of a religious sect by demonstrating that the society in general is functioning on the same principles. The religious sects. How are we attracted to them? Why do we remain there even in the most gregarious conditions? Why do we put our life into question even when we have heard all the horror stories? A mystical philosophy, a hidden knowledge attracts us and keeps us there. René is locked up underground at Denfert-Rochereau. What is he doing there? He tries to reach inner peace by the discovery of God. He hears the words of the Master, he will be initiated to the hidden world, a mystical philosophy that only the initiates know about. His doubts, his misery, his hopes, are just the beginning of his training. Novel of initiation in the style of Virgile’s Eneide and Homer’s Odyssey. Denfert-Rochereau was written while I was studying in Paris and exploring the tunnels leading to the catacombs under Montsouris Park. This is where I got the idea for the novel. It was my first real novel or normal type of book. It was painful to write near the end as it did not come from the heart, I was forcing myself to write it. It did work and I am very proud of the book, but it was not something poetic that I could read 100 times and recite by heart. I was born to write, but to write what I really feel is right. Writing for me is a need and it is only great when it comes naturally. All my previous books until Denfert-Rochereau came to me naturally and writing them was no effort. I did discover new things though with the novel: I could still pass along philosophies and ideas via my characters and the situations. Moreover, I did not need to endorse these opinions even though I could defend and attack at the same time many important themes and points of view. Slide25:  L’Anarchiste (The Anarchist) Black Poetry Black poetry, if we can define The Anarchist like that. Scandalous book, comic in certain parts, that resumes the traditional speech of the No Future without sinking nevertheless in the dullness. Can we still move masses? Can we again motivate a generation to accomplish some concrete things? Can we still scandalize people and create a legend? If it is necessary to describe a generation, we should not go there through several different paths, it is necessary to aim at the target. What is anarchic in fact is perhaps only the common reality to all. Otherwise, it is where the anarchy begins. I tried to be scandalous with that book, probably in order to be published and it worked. It still came from the heart though, I really felt the need to write it. In all it is a big denunciation of many things, mostly of a way of life even if it is not necessarily about capitalism. The thing is, it is very difficult to be scandalous today because everything has already been done and it takes a lot to scandalize people. I guess an old grand-ma could still be offended by everything, but even the grand-mothers who read the Anarchist deeply appreciated it. I did get a lot of insults via emails though, more about The Eclecticism than the Anarchist because it was said it was inspiring people to commit suicide. It is true that death and existential crisis are very central to my work. Some people were disgusted by the Anarchist and have thrown it in the bin. So it is still possible to command a reaction from the reader. To get them out of their mind to act out of rage and spontaneity. Most truly appreciated The Anarchist and saw in it something new, something that has never been done before. The question is: is it poetry? I called it black poetry with a question mark at the end. The Anarchist is my only book that has been translated in English. My friend Sheila MacLeod just finished the translation and I have put it online on my website less than two weeks ago. I am supposed to send it to an agent in London but I did not have the chance to read it one last time yet. Something positive can be said about translations, sometimes it can be better than the original. Sheila MacLeod is a well known Scottish author who won many awards especially the New York Times Book of the Year award for her book The Art of Starvation. Her British English is impeccable and gave to The Anarchist a credibility that I could not find in the French version. It now sounds like a great British work of art. Slide26:  The Anarchist (Summary) Slide27:  Diary turned into a novel L’Attente de Paris (Waiting for Paris, Novel) Waiting for Paris is the fictionalized traditional version of the Underground. The novel is to the third person singular and presents a young man fond of two women. Between Ottawa, Paris and New York, he has to make choices and to attempt to realize his dreams. Our hero lives only for Paris and will finally be parachuted directly between the walls of the Sorbonne in Paris. However the cultural shock is very big. The dreams are so simple, an ideal which did not suspect the obstacles and the bureaucracy of the governments and the universities. But that builds beautiful stories, especially when emotion, irony and the sarcastic remarks are on the menu. Waiting for Paris was written in an honest and direct style, it is the most accessible book of the author. Only one level of interpretation (almost) and sometimes surprisingly funny. An instantaneous book written before and after the departure of the author for Paris. Underground (Diary) Underground is mostly the life of the author, but very amplified. It concerns a young student who finishes his studies at the University of Ottawa and who dreams of Paris and New York. He will attempt to benefit from the social security services after a summer job that proved disastrous, finally he will find himself in Paris continuing his studies. The interest of the book is in the style in which it is written. General Comments Underground created quite a sensation in Paris when I was writing this 1000 pages book instead of working on my Masters degree at la Sorbonne. I would go in Le Jardin du Luxembourg every day, panicking because I was not in class or studying, then I would write for hours all my suffering and existential crisis. The whole House of Canadian Students where I was living was reading bits and pieces of it on certain nights. My fellow students also took a great interest in it, they even presented me to great publishers like Gallimard and Le Seuil which of course did not publish me. For the first time I felt admired, I was considered like a real author and it was an incredible feeling. In Paris everyone wants to write a book before they are 30 and soon realizes that it is quite difficult if not impossible. So they truly admire someone who can write so many books. It was a dream come true even though I was far from being published. It is also the time that I met the great author Anne Hébert, so Paris was magical. Slide28:  Other diaries that will become novels Mind the Gap and No Way Out Second and Third parts of the trilogy of autobiographical fictionalized novel. This time it is the universe of Toronto, New York, London and Brussels that is depicted. Adventures of a youth in the bars, pubs, clubs, within different relationships and the alcohol. The idea is to create the myth of the miserable and poor author in a handwriting that grips. Emotions, sensitivity, philosophy of life, everything is there, the author can die at the end of his work. Les Éléments Urbains Londoniens (London Urban Elements) The meaning of London urban life considered in parallel of the life in the countryside in France, especially along the Canal du Midi. The book also tells the

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